31-10 Thomson Avenue L.I.C, NY 11101 M204 Hours: Monday-Friday 9-5pm (718) 482-5940 Fax: (718) 609-2024
Olga is the Chief Laboratory Technician for the Natural Sciences Department. She is the supervisor of the laboratories and oversees other areas of the department. She teaches SCB 201, SCB 202 and General Microbiology. In addition, she is a PhD candidate in the CUNY Ph.D. Program in Science Education, Urban Education Department. Her science education research interests include emotions in the science classroom, cogenerative dialogue, minority and women participation in STEM. Her biological research interests include: Entomology, plant-insect interactions, symbiotic relationships, plant chemistry and microbiology. She conducts TEM studies of cerambycid digestive systems to try to localize symbionts in the guts of Neotropical and Temperate cerambycid beetles.
Sarah E. Durand, Associate Professor of biology, received a dual 4-year BA/MA degree in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Pennsylvania for a field study that examined shorebird foraging patterns in the intertidal zone along the Maine cost. Her doctoral degree in Neurobiology and Behavior was conferred by the Center for Molecular and Behavior Neuroscience of Rutgers University for a dissertation on novel auditory pathways in the avian brain, which received the Dean’s Dissertation Award for Excellence. For her postdoctoral work, supported by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship, she studied the parrot forebrain system for vocal learning at the University of Maryland. Dr. Durand has published in and reviewed for the Journal of Comparative Neurology (JCN), co-authored papers for Nature Reviews Neuroscience and the New York Academy of Science and has reviewed grant proposals for the National Science Foundation. By way of the NIH Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant to LaGuardia, Dr. Durand mentors research students in both ecology and neuroscience, with two students in the latter group winning "Best in Neuroscience" awards at the national conference for minority research students, ABRCMS. She is currently assisting development of the new major in Environmental Science that emphasizes collaboration with local high schools, community organizations and government agencies and she directs the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program at LaGuardia.
Doctor Lucia Fuentes did her undergraduate studies in the University of Geneva in Switzerland, received her Master’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Costa Rica and her PhD in Plant Virology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her post-doctoral work involved the study of cell-to-cell movement of viruses into embryonic plant tissues. While doing her post-doctoral work at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Vancouver, she developed and directed a series of workshops for professors from the Universidad Agricola de Nicaragua, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, on molecular techniques for detection of plant viruses. Before joining LaGuardia in spring 2013, Dr. Fuentes worked at Douglas College in British Columbia, for over fifteen years. At Douglas, she taught and developed curriculum for courses in Anatomy and Physiology, General Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Evolution, and Biochemistry. She also served as representative of the Faculty of Science and Technology on Education Council, the college-wide committee responsible for approving curriculum and advising the College Board on educational matters. In 2002, she submitted a proposal, supported by the Biology Department, which resulted in the assembly of a cell biology laboratory for both teaching and research purposes. For the past eight years, Dr. Fuentes has worked in collaboration with her colleagues on determining macrophage recognition mechanisms of microbial pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) via pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). Specifically, she is interested in elucidating the mechanism by which bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) augments the phagocytosis of zymosan (yeast cell-wall derived particles) by macrophages. Research Interests of Lucia Fuentes, Ph.D.
Dr. Tonya Hendrix is a Queens’ native. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Spelman College and her Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University where she characterized the unfolding of α-lactalbumin. Her post-doctoral training was done in the laboratory of Jerry Guyden at the City College of New York where she studied epithelial cells that reside in the thymus and their effect on the development of white blood cells. Dr. Hendrix's current research interest includes investigating the effects of antioxidants on the development of white blood cells. Dr. Hendrix has served as an adjunct assistant professor in the Biology Department at the City College of New York and, prior to coming to LaGuardia, held a faculty position at Livingstone College in North Carolina. At LaGuardia, Dr. Hendrix teaches both semester of fundamentals of biology and principles of biology. She is also the director of the A&P Study Hall.
Dr. Keller obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology from the University of New Mexico in 1999. His PHD work was performed in the lab of Martin Chalfie at Columbia University where he studied the sense of touch, neuronal microtubule dynamics, and Touch Receptor Neuron development in Caenorhabditis elegans. A three year break from graduate school allowed Dr. Keller to teach biology and human anatomy at Central New Mexico Community College and work for the New Mexico Department of Health where he used DNA technology to diagnose disease in commercial and wild animal populations. Dr. Keller returned to Columbia and obtained his PHD in 2011. Prior to his appointment at LaGuardia in September 2012, Dr. Keller taught introductory biology and human anatomy at Hostos Community College, Lander College for men, and LaGuardia as an adjunct professor. Dr. Keller currently teaches SCB 201 (fundamentals of biology). Research interests include:
Howard Motoike received his B.S. in Zoology from California State University Long Beach and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Miami. His expertise is in the structure and function of voltage-gated ion channels. He is also a Research Associate at Columbia University in the Department of Cardiology where he conducts research on the voltage and calcium activated potassium channel. His interests include all types of muscle contraction, signal transduction pathways and receptor pharmacology. He has held positions at the University of Cincinnati and Columbia University before accepting his appointment at La Guardia Community College. He has taught SCB-203 (Human A&P I), SCB-204 (Human A&P 2) and SCB-115 (Biology for Non-Majors) at LAGCC. Research Interests of Howard K. Motoike, Ph.D.
Thomas Onorato is an Associate Professor and the Biology Program Directorat LaGuardia Community College. He received his Bachelor of Science inBiology from St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn, NY) in 1999. He earned hisMaster of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Biological Sciencesfrom St. John's University (Queens, NY) in 2001 and 2004, respectively.Dr. Onorato was a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award(F32) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Council’s Center for BiomedicalResearch located at The Rockefeller University, NY from 2004-07. He hasserved as a grant reviewer for both the National Science Foundation (NSF)and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).Furthermore, Dr. Onorato has received multiple American Society for CellBiology Minorities Affairs Committee (ASCB MAC) Linkage Fellow Awards andwas an ASCB MAC Visiting Professor from 2010 to 2012. Dr. Onorato currentlyis a Visiting Scientist in the Wessel Laboratory at Brown University. Hehas published both pedagogical and research articles in the biologicalsciences and presented numerous research posters with students at nationalmeetings. Dr. Onorato's commitment to democratizing undergraduate researchis manifested by his incorporation of authentic research experiences intosuch classes as Fundamentals of Biotechniques and Cell Biology. Hisresearch focuses on reproductive cell biology, marine invertebrate cellculture and microbiomes. He uses echinoderms as his model organism,specifically the sea star, *Patiria miniata* (commonly known as the batstar).
Holly Porter-Morgan, Assistant Professor of Biology, received her PhD in Biology with specializations in Ecology and Plant Sciences from the Graduate Center, CUNY after attending the New York University for a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She then conducted post-doctorate work on predictive modeling and geospatial technology for conservation as a research scientist at the New York Botanical Garden. Dr.Porter-Morgan directs the Environmental Science Program at LaGuardia and teaches courses in Biology, Ecology, GISc, and Environmental Science. She is currently serving as a research mentor for the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program. Dr. Porter-Morgan’s research interests lie at the confluence of Environmental Science, geospatial technology,and Conservation Ecology. Currently, she is studying the potential for bioremediation to supplement proposals for water quality remediation at a local Superfund site; Newtown Creek, Queens. This research examines measures of organismal diversity and water quality and is being conducted with a number of collaborators including the Newtown Creek Alliance. The second portion of her research is a geospatial (GISc) investigation of the environmental hazards affecting residents of the communities surrounding Newtown Creek. This work incorporates field data collected by student interns with predictive models and data submitted by organizations including the EPA, DOH, and DEC.
Dr. Radhakrishnan completed her Bachelors in Zoology and Masters in Biotechnology at the University of Madras, India. She then completed her PhD in Biology at the Department of Brain, Behavior and Evolution at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Radhakrishnan then travelled to the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL for a post-doctoral position. Dr. Radhakrishnan currently teaches Fundamentals of Human Biology I (SCB203) and runs an active research lab. Dr. Radhakrishnan’s research interests are largely focused on ecological immunology and the interactions between reproduction and immunity. These interests are pursued using insects as models such as the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster and the Chinese preying mantis Tenodera sinensis. Current research projects include:
V. Rojanavongse is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) as a Diplomate of acupuncture and is a licensed acupuncturist in the state of New York. He received an M.S. degree in Acupuncture and graduated with honors from Tri-State College of Acupuncture (TSCA) in New York. At LaGuardia, he has been teaching Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II since 2005. In the past, he has also taught General Microbiology and Vertebrate Anatomy along with Human Anatomy & Physiology at Hunter College. Currently, in addition to maintaining a private acupuncture practice in the Gramercy Park area, he is a clinical supervisor, grand rounds instructor and faculty member at TSCA. He has also received specialized certification in auriculotherapy for the treatment of substance abuse from the Lincoln hospital detoxification training clinic in the Bronx. In 2008, he was the program coordinator at the Thousand Hands Institute where he taught licensed acupuncturists advanced skills and developed the course syllabus for NCCAOM CEU certification. With his training, he specializes in Japanese acupuncture, moxabustion, cupping, trigger point dry needling, shiatsu and herbal medicine. Utilizing these modalities, he treats many chronic disorders such as musculoskeletal pain, neurological problems, gynecological issues, infertility, depression, and digestive dysfunctions. As a martial artist, he holds the rank of 3rd degree black belt in Aikido and is certified as an instructor by the United States Aikido Federation. He currently teaches at the New York Aikikai where he gives group and private lessons.
Benjamin Taylor received his Bachelor’s degree in biology from Illinois State University in 2004. While at ISU, he was awarded an NSF-CRUI (Collaborative Research at Undergraduate Institutions) fellowship that he used to conduct research on aspects of reproductive biology and host-parasite interactions in Southeastern Lubber Grasshoppers (Romalea microptera) in Everglades National Park. He earned his Ph.D. in zoology with a minor focused on curriculum/instruction and statistics in 2012 from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Taylor’s primary research interests are in the area of social insect behavioral ecology and evolution. His recent research in Wisconsin and Costa Rica has focused on communication, foraging, and colony organization in independent-founding and swarm-founding wasps. He also has interests in teaching and developing curricula to enhance student learning. Working with colleagues at Carleton College in Minnesota and Vassar College in New York, he helped develop and test an online interface that students in an undergraduate classroom used to conduct genomics research. For their work, Dr. Taylor and the other members of the research group were awarded the Inquiry-Based Instruction Award from AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science). Dr. Taylor has taught Fundamentals of Biology and Human Anatomy & Physiology at LaGuardia. Selected Publications:Singer S.R., Schwarz J.A., Manduca C.A., Fox S.P., Iverson E.R., Taylor B.J., Cannon S.B., May G.D., Maki S.L., Farmer A.D., Doyle J.J. (2013) Keeping an eye on biology. Science 339(6118): 408-409. Taylor B.J., Nordheim E.V. and Jeanne R.L. (2012) Colony-level foraging effort allocation in Vespula germanica in response to food resource quantity, quality, and associated olfactory cues. Ethology 118: 594-605. Taylor B.J., Nordheim E.V., Schueller T.I. and Jeanne R.L. (2011). Recruitment in swarm-founding wasps: Polybia occidentalis does not actively scent-mark carbohydrate food sources. Psyche 2011: 7 pp. (Special Focus Issue: Hymenopteran Group Foraging and Information Transfer about Resources) Taylor B.J., Schalk D.R. and Jeanne R.L. (2010). Yellowjackets use nest-based cues to differentially exploit higher-quality resources. Naturwissenschaften 97: 1041-1046. Jeanne R.L. and Taylor B.J. (2009) Individual and social foraging in the social wasps. In: Food Exploitation by Social Insects: Ecological, Behavioral, and Theoretical Approaches (M. Hrncir and S. Jarau, eds.). CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, pp 53-79.
Priyantha Wijesinghe was born in Sri Lanka and had his early education in Sri Lanka and in England. He became interested in spiders, insects and other terrestrial invertebrates while an undergraduate in zoology at University College London (University of London) (1983). After a period of employment in Sri Lanka as a systematic entomologist, during which he studied the spider fauna of Sri Lanka, he pursued graduate studies at the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History, obtaining his PhD in 1997 for a systematic study of the spider family Salticidae (jumping spiders). Here at LaGuarda Community College, where he is an Associate Professor in Biology, Professor Wijesinghe coordinates and teaches two courses that together comprise the general biology sequence. He continues his interest in the systematics of spiders and other taxa, as well as the history of natural history exploration in South Asia, documentation of the fauna of Sri Lanka, and ecology and natural history in New York City.
Dr. Xu earned her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Weill Medical College of Cornell University. As a graduate student, she characterized the novel role of Rho GTPase in Drosophila embryonic salivary gland invagination, migration and lumen size control. Her research has been published in many scientific journals and book chapters. Dr. Xu continued her interests in Drosophila research as a postdoctoral fellow at Albert Einstein School of Medicine. She was working with Dr. Arthur Skoultchi and Dr. Dimitry Fyodorov to determine how linker histone H1 regulates leukemia formation in Drosophila. Her recent findings have been published on Epigenetics &Chromatin. Dr. Xu was also awarded a fellowship by the NIH IRACDA BETTR program (Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award, Bronx-Einstein Training in Teaching and Research) to promote minority education through a partnership among Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Lehman College and Hostos Community College. Dr. Xu implemented E-portfolio in chemistry classes and improved students’ scientific writing and quantitative skills. The results led to an education publication in the Hostos journal Touchstone and have been presented in educational conferences. Prior to her appointment at LaGuardia, Dr. Xu taught General Biology as an IRACDA scholar and adjunct professor at Hostos Community College. She also taught Genetics as a STEM education fellow at New York Academy of Science. Currently, Dr. Xu is teaching SCB201 and SCB202 (Fundamentals of Biology I and II). Her current research is to identify epigenetic regulators of leukemia formation in Drosophila .
I have a wide range of research experiences and interests, primary within the fields of Invertebrate Zoology, Biogeography, Evolution. My Master’s project in Arachnology (1979) was performed at Far East State University and dedicated to orb-weaving spiders (Araneae, Araneidae) of South East Russia. In 1989, I earned my Ph.D. in Entomology from Novosibirsk Biological Institute. My professional career I began in “Kedrovaya Pad Natural Reserve” as a Research Scientist, where I participated in and performed various scientific projects in Field Zoology. After arrival in the United States, I was invited to participate in a project on ground spiders of Australia in American Museum of Natural History, where I have worked from 1996 to 2005 as a Curatorial Assistant in Spider laboratory in Department of Invertebrate Zoology. My teaching career I began in 2006 at Hostos Community College (CUNY). From 2010 I am an Assistant Professor at the LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), where I teach courses on Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Anatomy and Physiology of Vertebrates. I am working on several projects in invertebrate zoology, biogeography and evolution. I am continuing research in systematics, taxonomy, and biogeography of Australasian ground spiders (Araneae, Gnaphosidae). Currently, in collaboration with Dr. Vladimir Ovtsharenko, I have finished the first book “Revision of Australasian ground spiders” and preparing next book on genus Encoptarthria with description, evolutionary relation and geographic distribution of 45 new spider species. I also participate in study of invertebrate dynamics in Black Rock Forest, as part of the larger project “Ecosystem Consequences of Foundation Taxon Loss”. The third ongoing project concerns organization and function of ground spider’s reproductive organs.
Dionne A. Miller is an assistant professor of chemistry in the Natural Sciences Department of LaGuardia Community College. She received her PhD in Physical Chemistry from the CUNY Graduate School and University Center in 2008. Her dissertation was titled “Optical Properties of Solid Thin Films by Spectroscopic Reflectometry and Spectroscopic Ellipsometry”. Dr Miller’s current research interests are in the optical properties of nanoshell thin films and how the elucidation of these properties will influence the design of applications involving these particular nanoparticles. She received her B Sc in Chemistry from the University of the West Indies, Mona and also holds postgraduate diplomas in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies, Mona and Technical Education from the University of Technology, Jamaica. Dr Miller has extensive experience in college teaching. She held the position of Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Technology, Jamaica from 1996 – 2000 and, while completing her graduate studies, was an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Bronx Community College and the City College of New York. Dr. Miller is currently the coordinator of the chemistry program and also serves as the coordinator for SCC201: Fundamentals of Chemistry I. She also has developed and teaches a hybrid online course for SCC201.
Amit Aggarwal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at LaGuardia Community college. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Hunter College and The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on the study of catalytic and photophysics of porphyrinoid based materials. Dr. Aggarwal conducted his Postdoctoral Research in the Department of Biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. Dr. Aggarwal’s research focuses to synthesize new porphyrinoids by appending different groups at the meso/peripheral positions on the commercially available porphyrins, phthalocyanines, corroles and corrolazines by using click chemistry. Porphyrins and related compounds, because of their strong absorption of the visible light, plays an important role for wide variety of applications such as in photo storage devices, oxidation catalysts, photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy etc.The rich optoelectronic properties of these chromophores make them ideal building blocks for these applications. These building blocks then will be used for the formation of their self-organized nanomaterials in solutions and then also adsorbing them on surfaces to investigate them for their robustness and catalytic activity for a variety of organic pollutants and also their photophysical properties for biomedical applications such as imaging agents and therapeutics. Dr. Aggarwal has an extensive college teaching experience. Prior to joining LaGuardia, he was an Assistant Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College and an Adjunct lecturer for several years at Hunter College and LaGuardia Community College.
Dr. Alberts received his bachelor of science degree in Chemistry from the University of Manchester, UK, and his Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry from the University of Cambridge, UK. His PhD research focused on the development of quantum mechanical methods for predicting the properties of small molecular systems. Dr. Alberts conducted Postdoctoral research at the University of Georgia, USA, and then taught Chemistry and led active research groups as a Lecturer at the Universities of Edinburgh and Stirling, UK. He was also a visiting researcher at the European Bioinformtics Institute in Cambridge, UK, where he worked on computational approaches for simulating protein-ligand complexes. Dr. Alberts has significant experience working in the area of Computational Chemistry in the commercial environment. At De Novo Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, UK and Schrödinger in NYC, he was Principal Scientist and led research teams focused on the development and application of state-of-the-art methodology for Computational Drug Discovery. Dr. Alberts was appointed to the Faculty in the Natural Sciences Department at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) in September 2011. He currently teaches Organic Chemistry, Fundamentals of Chemistry II, Introductory Chemistry and Foundations of Chemistry at LaGuardia. His research work involves application of computational drug discovery methods to design potential new drug candidates for targets of therapeutic interest, including tyrosine kinases, GPCR’s, matrix metalloproteases and metabolic enzymes. He also collaborates with external research groups on projects focused on simulation of biological systems, such as membrane proteins, DNA polymerases and key biopolymers.
Dr. Janet Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Natural Sciences Department of LaGuardia Community College. She received her PhD in Biochemistry from the CUNY Graduate School and her BS magna cum laude from the City College of NY. Dr. Gonzalez’s research involves the use of small organic molecules as a starting point for in silico and cellular approaches towards protein-ligand interactions concentrating on the serine protease, beta-lactamase expressed by Mycobacteriumtuberculosis. This approach to engineer non-ß-lactam inhibitors may provide new building blocks to either restore the activity of ß-lactam antibiotics or to circumvent ß-lactamase mediated resistance. Dr. Gonzalez has extensive teaching experience and has taught at Lehman College, Bronx Community College and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. She is currently the coordinator of the Organic Chemistry program.
Dr. Hussain received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Poona, India. He conducted research involving the synthesis and characterization of new heterocyclic compounds. He conducted post-doctoral research at The Ohio State University on poly aromatic hydrocarbons and their mechanism of action as carcinogens. Dr. Hussain has taught Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, and Introductory Chemistry at LaGuardia. He currently conducts research in Natural Products and also synthesis of Anti-oxidants. Before joining La Guardia he was Sub. Associate Professor of Chemistry at Lehman College (CUNY) and worked as Research Scientist at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals for 6 yrs prior to the teaching.
Kevin Mark is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Natural Sciences Department. He received his doctoral degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His research focus is on the investigation of proteins, their non-covalent complexes and modifications using mass spectrometry. He held a postdoctoral position at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in Orleans, France, and a Research Associate position at York College of CUNY in New York. Prior to joining LaGuardia, he was a substitute Assistant Professor at York College and a Visiting Assistant Professor at St.John’s University teaching undergraduate courses in general and analytical chemistry .
Jennifer Vance was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in Anaheim California. She received her bachelors in chemistry from the University of California, at Irvine. Dr. Vance then obtained her masters from Harvard University, while working in organic chemistry. She taught high school chemistry for three years in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Dr. Vance went on to obtain her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center, CUNY, in Nanotechnology. She enjoys writing poetry and painting as hobbies.At LaGuardia, Dr. Vance and her students conduct research at Newtown Creek, which is a 3.5 mile river which empties into the East River. The river runs the boundary between the Queens and Brooklyn Burroughs. A thriving sight of industry, this river has been the location of much pollution for over a century. Battered by oil spills and oil seepage, raw sewage, trash carried by rain water, cement, animal fat, and a 15 meter sludge on the bottom of the riverbed, Newtown Creek is one of the most polluted waterways in the United States. Dr. Vance’s students monitor toxin levels for nitrate, phosphate, lead, copper, dissolved iron, and chromate.
Dr. Burl Yearwood obtained his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Alabama. Dr. Yearwood obtained his PhD degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. His research dealt with the preparation of precursors for the production of semi-conductors. Dr. Yearwood also investigated the type of compounds formed between organo-aluminum compounds and organic sulfur and selenium complexes. Dr. Yearwood conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Kentucky. His research dealt with the formation and study of the tetrafluoroaluminate ion (which can act as a phosphate mimic in the body). Dr. Yearwood also looked at the synthesis and characterization of organotin compounds, and their as biocidal agents in marine paints Dr. Yearwood is currently the chairperson of the Natural Sciences Department at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY). He has taught Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, and Introductory Chemistry at LaGuardia. Presently his research deals with the analysis of environmental toxins in Newtown Creek River, a Superfund site, in Long Island City.
Dr. Frost received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in mathematics and physics from The City College of New York (CUNY) and a Master of Science and a PhD. degree in physics from New York University. Dr. Frost has taught mathematics, physics, and computer science at New York University, Lehman College (CUNY), Medgar Evers College (CUNY), and at Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria (4 years) before coming to LaGuardia. Dr. Frost is currently conducting research at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies on the campus of Columbia University. His research interests are Polarimetry studies of aerosols in the earth’s atmosphere and aerosol studies of Jupiter’s stratosphere. Dr. Frost is also the coordinator of the physical science courses in the Natural Sciences Department.
Dr. Xin Gao received her PhD in Physics from the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY in 2012. Dr. Gao also earned an MS degree in Quantitative Methods and Modeling from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in 2008. Her PhD dissertation was focused at the interface of physics, mathematics, business and economics. She developed an improved one factor model to price Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs), developed an analytical solution to the pricing of heterogeneous CDO portfolios and presented this work at the International Conference on Applied Mathematics, Modeling and Computational Science (AMMCS-2011). Dr. Gao also has rich research experience in experimental physics, more specifically, studying, developing and using new kinds of organic polymers doped with rare earth complex solutions as the emitting material in electroluminescent devices. This research work involved thin-film preparation using vapor deposition and spin coating techniques. It also required sophisticated skills in acquiring and analyzing the fluorescence and absorption spectra of the rare earth complex solutions and the light-emitting Diode (LED) devices made with them. Her work in this area has been published in different peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Gao also has significant experience in college teaching. Before joining the Natural Sciences Department at LaGuardia Community College, she taught diverse courses as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Baruch College, Fashion Institute of Technology and BMCC for several years.
Dr. Amish Khalfan holds a Ph.D. in Physics from The CUNY Graduate School. Before joining LaGuardia, Dr. Khalfan taught at Yeshiva University for several years. There, he taught classes in GeneralPhysics, Electromagnetic Theory, and Quantum Mechanics as well as mathematics courses in Multivariable Calculus, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra. In terms of research interests, Dr. Khalfan investigates symmetries in quantum mechanical systems and particle physics through the use of various algebraic techniques. He has worked with the algebras of octonionic numbers and Grassmann numbers.
Jaime Nieman holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from CUNY. His research interests are focused on laser-induced photochemistry and spectroscopy, as well as on reactions using atomic and molecular beams. He has published papers in these fields and he is also the co-inventor of a patent titled “Laser Initiated Chain Reactions for Producing a Sintered Product”. He has been a Visiting Scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and a Research Associate at the Laser Institute of Brooklyn College. Jaime has worked in industry and has consulted for both industry and government. Jaime spent a year as a Visiting Associate Professor at the CUNY Graduate School in the Chemistry Department. Since 1991 he has been at LaGuardia Community College. He has taught General Chemistry, Biological Chemistry and Topics in Chemistry. He currently coordinates and teaches the Fundamental of Physics sequence (SCP201 and SCP202) as well as Topics in Physical Science (SCP101).
Dr. Senkov earned his Doctorate Degree of Philosophy in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics in 2004 at Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk, Russia, and got a Masters Degree in Physics in 1998 and a Bachelors Degree in Physics in 1996 (both diplomas with Honors) at Novosibirsk State University in Russia. Some of Dr. Senkov's recent works are devoted to accurate calculation of nuclear level densities (NLD). Spin- and parity-dependent nuclear level densities represent an important ingredient for theory of nuclear reactions. Knowledge of the rates of certain nuclear reactions are extremely important for applications to nuclear astrophysics, where these rates determine formation, evolution, and the main properties of stars. In most of the cases relevant to nuclear astrophysics, where experimental information is not available, the reaction rates for medium and heavy nuclei can only be estimated theoretically. Dr. Senkov wrote two large-scale FORTRAN codes for calculations of NLD which allow for parallelization of computing. These codes were successfully tested on up to 6,000 processors (Phys. Lett. B702, 413 (2011), Comp. Phys. Comm. 184, 215 (2013)). The new algorithm Dr. Senkov developed for this project is about several thousand times faster compared to the previous one. Using Dr. Senkov's codes it became possible to calculate nuclear level densities for given spin and parity for practically any available Shell Model Hamiltonians and model spaces avoiding direct diagonalization. This provided a breakthrough in the methods for NLD calculations. Dr. Senkov is also very interested in neutrinoless double beta decay problem. Neutrinoless double beta decay, if observed, would prove that neutrinos are Majorana fermions, an important milestone in the search of physics beyond the Standard Model. In addition, one could extract more information about the nature of the decay mechanism and possibly determine the light neutrino mass hierarchy and the lightest neutrino mass. Recent publications: 1. Nuclear level density: Shell Model vs Mean Field, R.A. Sen'kov and V.G. Zelevinsky, submitted for publication, 2015 2. Accurate shell-model nuclear matrix elements for neutrinoless double-beta decay, R.A. Sen’kov and M. Horoi, Phys. Rev. C 90, 051301(R) (2014) 3. Nuclear Structure Aspects of Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay, B. A. Brown, M. Horoi, R. A. Sen'kov, PRL 113, 262501 (2014) 4. Neutrinoless double-? decay of 82Se in the shell model: Beyond the closure approximation, R.A. Sen’kov, M. Horoi, and B.A. Brown, Rev. C 89, 054304 (2014) 5. New determination of double-beta-decay properties in 48Ca: high-precision Q-value measurement and improved nuclear matrix element calculations. A. A. Kwiatkowski et al., Rev. C 89, 045502 (2014)
Dr. Sheffield received a B.S. in Physics from New York University and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. Dr. Sheffield's doctoral thesis focused on the structure of the Milky Way galaxy by studying the motions and chemical abundances of old stars, from which we can infer the evolutionary history of the Milky Way. Dr. Sheffield continues research in this area and she regularly travels to observatories in Arizona and Chile to collect spectroscopic data of old giant stars. Recently, she has expanded her research to include RR Lyrae stars, enabling a more detailed understanding of the three-dimensional structure of the Milky Way. Prior to joining the faculty at LaGuardia, Dr. Sheffield was a Visiting Professor in Physics and Astronomy at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where she taught physics and astronomy courses at all levels. She carried out post-doctoral research as a Science Fellow at Columbia University from 2010-2014. At Columbia, Dr. Sheffield taught sections of the cross-disciplinary course Frontiers of Science -- covering topics in neuroscience, biodiversity, Earth science, physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology, and biochemistry -- while carrying out her research on the structure of the Milky Way.
Dr. John Toland received his Ph.D. in physics from Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) in 2011 and his M.S. Degree in physics in 2009 from the same institution. Dr. Toland’s thesis research centered on modeling the rotational sensitivity of multiple interferometers connected in series. Dr. Toland explored the effects of size varying interferometers both due to random imperfections and chains with designed size variations. Dr. Toland received his Bachelor’s degree in physics form Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA) in 2005. Dr. Toland continues his research into simulating the transmission properties of multiple interferometers to determine how their geometry affects their rotational sensitivity. He is extending this work to explore the effects due to other geometric phase shifts subject to interferometer geometries studied with phase shifts associated with rotation. Dr. Toland is also exploring the possibilities of incorporating heavily parallel processer computation into his work; he is part of an ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration at Stevens Institute of Technology that has been recognized by NVIDA as a research center for parallel processing using the CUDA programming language. Doctor Toland has been teaching physics courses at LaGuardia since the Fall of 2012 and previously taught physics course ate CUNY: Kingsborough Community College and at Stevens instate of Technology. He has experience teaching both algebra and calculus based general physics courses and laboratories.